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After nearly two months of sharp up-and-down volatility in the numbers, the Department of Labor reported Thursday that a seasonally adjusted 332,000 Americans had filed initial applications for unemployment compensation for the week ending March 9. That is the second lowest level since January 2008. It compares with a revised 342,000 first-time claims for the previous week and 363,000 for the comparable week of 2012.

The four-week running average of first-time claims, which smooths volatility and gives a better overall picture of the situation, fell to 346,750 from the previous week's revised average of 349,500.

In state programs and the federally funded emergency extensions, the total number of people claiming benefits for the week ending Feb. 23 rose to 5,619,860, an increase of 217,967 from the previous week. For the comparable week of 2012, there were 7,424,041 persons claiming benefits in all programs. The numbers are down because many people have found jobs while others have exhausted their benefits. At the height of the recession, more than 70 percent of out-of-work Americans were receiving benefits. Now less than 40 percent are, mostly as a function of exhausted benefits.

In the past 25 years, the best modern one-year period for first-time unemployment claims took place in the last year of the Clinton administration, when, from October 1999 to October 2000, claims were mostly in the 280,000-310,000 range.

Although unemployment claims are falling, the most recent monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week showed 12 million Americans are officially unemployed, 6.8 million are not in the labor force but say they want a job, and eight million are working part time because they can't get full-time work. That totals 26.8 million unemployed and underemployed Americans.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Economics and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:59:47 AM PDT

  •  A little more progress - in spite of the GOP (7+ / 0-)

    and their attempts to drown federal, state, and local governments across the nation.

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:19:26 AM PDT

  •  26.8 million un- and under-employed, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    renzo capetti

    excluding those who have given up, retired early as an alternative to working at Staples, assuming they could get a job at one.

    And this is good for the country how?

    That's a whole country of people, sidelined.

    One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Some pragmatists are exceptions.

    by Words In Action on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:24:15 PM PDT

  •  I read recently that we are now about 7-8 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    renzo capetti, Meteor Blades

    million behind where we should be if jobs had kept up with population growth since the collapse. Is that correct.?

    So that means we would still have 20 million un- and under employed?

    And we're on pace to accomplish that in how many decades?

    By which point we'll have how many un- and under-employed?

    I'm not singling out the President, here. But does anyone else see the fact that the incrementalism with which we are "attacking" the problem is hopelessly beneath its scale?

    We need to ditch the spoon and grab a shovel. Or a Bobcat.

    One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Some pragmatists are exceptions.

    by Words In Action on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:29:59 PM PDT

    •  The folks at the Economic Policy Institute... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JamieG from Md

      ...calculate this "jobs deficit" at 8.9 million:

      (the 3 million we are still down from when the recession started, plus the 5.9 million we should have added over this period to keep up with growth in the potential labor force). Even at February’s growth rate, we wouldn’t get back to the prerecession unemployment rate until mid-2017. The jobs deficit is so large that to return to the prerecession unemployment rate by February 2016, another three years from now, we would have to add 320,000 jobs every single month between now and then.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:39:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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